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Genres & Age Categories => Historical Fiction => Topic started by: pjlyons on April 12, 2013, 11:46 AM

Title: Hoeing a garden
Post by: pjlyons on April 12, 2013, 11:46 AM
Can anyone tell me about how long it would take to hoe a row about as long as a football field?
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: Cindyb on April 12, 2013, 12:14 PM
Maybe a half hour? Depends on the soil, how wet or dry, and how good of job is done.
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: CyndyHenzel on April 12, 2013, 01:11 PM
Could easily take an hour depending on what the crop is and how 'weedy' the ground.
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: pjlyons on April 12, 2013, 01:17 PM
Great. Thanks!
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: Joni on April 12, 2013, 05:06 PM
A half hour? Even an hour? Clearly you guys live somewhere where the soil is different than where I live! Regardless, it's going to make a big difference whether the field has been fallow, the crop is already planted, how recently the last hoeing was, how compacted the soil has been by feet, animals, or hard rain, etc.

Here a row the length of a football field (100 yards) might take all day.
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: TH on April 12, 2013, 06:48 PM
Yep. And what tools you have. It took me three hours to do a 15x15 (FOOT!) plot that had never been tilled before.
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: olmue on April 12, 2013, 06:55 PM
Uh, agree. To hoe an entire football field (!!!) would take me all day. At LEAST. Hoeing means hacking up any and all weeds that might be growing in that plot. Even if it was mostly dirt, there will still be dandelions, etc. trying to encroach, and that will take a looooooooong time to cover that amount of ground. Honestly, I don't think you could even rototill that area in an hour.
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: Cindyb on April 13, 2013, 05:48 PM
I don't think she asked about the whole field- just a row that long. I admit, my estimate was based on a formerly tilled row, so it would be fairly easy work. But since this is a question in historical fiction, they may not have had rototillers. :)  So it may have taken an hour or so.
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: olmue on April 13, 2013, 08:42 PM
Ah, true. I read it as the whole football field, not just a row. That would make it an exponentially easier job!

Still--I've never had a garden rototilled, and have only done it the "historic" way. It takes a LONG time when all you have is the hard ground and a hoe and your muscles. I suppose if the snow had just melted and the ground was soft and the weeds hadn't grown in yet, it would be faster. But I still think it would take a long time. Or maybe I'm just a wimp... :)
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: ChristineSarmel on April 14, 2013, 08:31 AM
Who's hoeing - a child or an adult? When I was a kid we had to hoe a row or pick a row of peas if we got in trouble. It wasn't as long as a football field (maybe half that) and usually took us an hour or two.
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: Joni on April 14, 2013, 09:33 AM
I'm with Rose -- I was talking about just a row, not a whole football field. (Where I live, it would take over a week or more do to a whole football field by hand. A football field is big. A hoe is about four inches wide.) But as noted, I think the conditions and geography could make an incredible difference. Even the crop -- a row of corn is quite a bit wider than a row of radishes, for instance. So maybe as long as your gardening time/information/weed threat is consistent with your location, if real, and the amount of time it takes to do anything there, it'd be okay? Can you get information from someone who lives wherever you're writing about?
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: anita on April 14, 2013, 05:25 PM
A half hour? Even an hour? Clearly you guys live somewhere where the soil is different than where I live! Regardless, it's going to make a big difference whether the field has been fallow, the crop is already planted, how recently the last hoeing was, how compacted the soil has been by feet, animals, or hard rain, etc.

Here a row the length of a football field (100 yards) might take all day.
Boy, I agree. There are so many things that would change it. I think a half an hour is really optimistic, unless it is done every few days.
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: Bobi Martin on April 14, 2013, 09:54 PM
What a great question. There are so many variables! In addition to the kind of soil, there's whether the ground had been broken before, and whether the person hoeing is a child, a teen or an adult. It would also depend on whether the hoe is sharp or dulled. If you want to add a complication for your character, you could have the nail holding the head of the hoe come out so that the head has to be reattached to the pole. (This happened to me--twice--when I was trying to hoe rows in my garden.)
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: pjlyons on April 15, 2013, 08:20 AM
Wow. I had no idea there were so many variables!

Okay, so here's the set up:

12 & 14 yo girls hoeing rows of vegetables in August, 1936, Montana--during a drought. The garden has been fairly well maintained. There are 4 brothers and a father who also hoe the garden, though they aren't in this scene. Each person is assigned a specific number of rows they have to hoe. According to my research, there would be between 120-130 rows in an acre garden, which this is. The scene is supposed to make the MC use one of 3 wishes to wish she didn't have to hoe the garden. So any unpleasant details would be warmly welcomed.

Were hoes so expensive that a poor family might only have 2? Or would that probably not been an issue?

Also, how often should a vegetable garden be hoed?


Thanks!
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: ChristineSarmel on April 15, 2013, 09:50 AM
Unpleasant details...

-If you don't hoe regularly blisters pop out half way through the first row. Even if you do, the blisters come eventually.
-Bugs -- flying bugs, crawling bugs, gnats have a special love for places like ears and noses, bugs get swallowed or stick on your tongue
-Snakes -- if it's hot out, underneath a nice, cool vegetable leaf is a lovely resting place for snakes

...Can you tell I moved to the city right out of college and never looked back :flower
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: CyndyHenzel on April 15, 2013, 11:57 AM
You wouldn't want to do deep hoeing during a drought. Hoeing dries out the soil. You'd probably just chop off any weeds growing during the drought at the surface of the ground. Unpleasant is back strain, sunburn, dust.
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: Bobi Martin on April 20, 2013, 09:45 PM
And thirst. Hoeing long rows leaves you thirsty, particularly if the air is very dry as it probably would be during a drought.
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: Barbara Etlin on April 21, 2013, 11:50 AM
 :offtopic

Q: What did Santa do in his garden in the summer?

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A: Hoe, hoe, hoe.
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: pjlyons on April 23, 2013, 08:40 AM
thanks!
Title: Re: Hoeing a garden
Post by: sandycarl on June 01, 2013, 12:14 PM
One thing to consider too (jumping in late here) is the condition of the ground. If it was lawn or a wild field -- oy, that would take a L-O-N-G time, and I would think you'd be using a shovel first. If it was plowed up in the fall, it would be easy sailing, and if you just dragged a hoe through the field, it would take as long as it takes to walk the length (going back later, I assume and planting seeds).